Scientists are stunned to find that a crater in Antarctica that was once thought to be formed after a meteorite crashed into the earth has actually formed due to increasing temperature which has resulted in melting of ice.
Global warming has started showing its effect that can be catastrophic in future. Unprecedented climate change, drought, increasing temperature and untimely rain are some of its effects. Similarly, the Roi Baudouin ice shelf located in East Antartica also melt down to form lake which later drained and left a big hole.
Although the Roi Baudouin crater has existed in satellite images of 1989 but scientists first noticed it in January 2015. It was a 3 kilometre wide circle. Scientists, earlier thought it to be formed due to meteorite, but the recent study says that ice melt has resulted into the giant hole.
“That was a huge surprise,” Stef Lhermitte, an earth science researcher at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and at the University of Leuven in Belgium, said in a statement. “Moulins typically are observed on Greenland. And we definitely never see them on an ice shelf.”
East Antarctica has always been a mystery for the scientists. For the recent study, researchers combined the climate modelling and satellite data and found that the east Antarctica is more vulnerable to melting. According to researchers, warm wind blowing in the region plays a major role in melting the ice and then blowing the snow cover which leaves holes and darkened surface.
In addition, dark surface hidden beneath the snow cover absorbs more heat from the sun which further increases the temperature and increases the ice melt.
Some scientists previously believed that the hole is a result of strong ice melt in the region and meteorite cannot create such hole in that area. “The amount of meltwater differs immensely from year to year, but it clearly increases during warm years,” said Jan Lenaerts, a climate researcher at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and at the University of Leuven. “Our research now suggests that the much larger East Antarctica ice sheet is also very vulnerable.”
The study appeared in the journal Nature.